Left outside the kingdom

Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Sermon on the Mount describes the righteousness that “surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees” without which “you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). He concluded His instructions with a stern warning against self-deception. He asked His disciples, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). A disciple who does not heed his master is no disciple at all.

When the Messianic Era commences, many supposed followers of Yeshua will gather around Him to seek entrance into the kingdom. They will claim to be His disciples and insist on entering the kingdom on that basis, but not everyone who says to Him, “Master, Master,” will gain admission. Yeshua declared that only the person “who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21).

Many of us consider ourselves to be followers of Yeshua and therefore heirs to the kingdom, but if we do not allow the Torah of God and the teaching of Yeshua to inform our lives, we may be surprised to find ourselves outside the kingdom. The Master compared Himself to the owner of a house who has already shut the door at night and is unwilling to open it for strangers:

Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, “Lord, open up to us!” then He will answer and say to you, “I do not know where you are from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets”; and He will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from me, all you evildoers.” (Luke 13:25-27)

We will protest that we ministered, prophesied, and performed miracles in His name: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” (Matthew 7:22). He will say to us, “I never knew you,” and then He will quote Psalm 6:9[8], “Depart from me, all you who do iniquity.”

The words, “I never knew you” are a rabbinic expression for placing one’s disciple on the ban. With those words, the rabbi disavowed relationship with his disciple for the duration of the ban—ordinarily from seven to thirty days, but in this case, at the very least, for the duration of the Messianic Era.

The rejected disciples, barred from the Messianic Era, will see the great banquet of Messiah, but they will not find a place at the table. They will see “Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:28), and many others “will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29), but they themselves will be thrown out. Then “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28). Those who “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), however, will be among those seated at the table.

This article originally appeared on First Fruits of Zion and is reposted with permission.